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Author Topic: 20 pasture acres in need of attention  (Read 1888 times)


  • Joined Jun 2017
20 pasture acres in need of attention
« on: June 23, 2017, 07:36:37 pm »
We have just bought a small holding in Cornwall that has been uninhabited for 2 years. The previous tenants kept a lot of horses but gave up cattle about 10 years ago.  There are 5 fields over 5 acres each which are laid to pasture but are very horse sick and overgrown with docks, nettles and some brambles.  We have had an offer from some local potato growers to let it to them - is this a good way to go? We would like to have it back to pasture within 2-3 yrs but have been advised that a year or 2 of potatoes followed by the broccoli boys will replenish lost nutrients and give us a good base to start again.... thoughts?! Many thanks..


  • Joined Sep 2016
Re: 20 pasture acres in need of attention
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 12:17:49 pm »
Not sure I'd want to move to a smallholding and not get the use of my fields for 2-3 years.


  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: 20 pasture acres in need of attention
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2017, 12:33:28 pm »
Would they settle for 2-3 fields while you deal with the others?
Be aware they will probably be using chemI also to deal with weeds.
We have just bought a tool that prises thistles out of the ground, Rag fork, great for ragwort, thistles and docks etc.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 03:29:18 pm by penninehillbilly »


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: 20 pasture acres in need of attention
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2017, 01:18:41 pm »
Potatoes have the potential to ruin soil structure as the whole field is de-stoned... I would just plough, reseed in the autumn and cut for hay next year, then graze after that.


  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: 20 pasture acres in need of attention
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2017, 02:37:32 pm »
There's a lot of variables here. How much are the crop boys going to pay to rent? If the land is starved of nutrients then they are going to be adding stuff.. but minimums for their needs? If the ground is going to get ploughed, power harrowed then it's going to turn up all the weed seeds for an amazing crop of docks and nettles afterwards. It also depends on whether you're after pure grass fields or mixed meadow.. you can't use selective non-grass weedkillers on mixed meadows. 25 acres is a lot to work on manually. I know I've got that much hay meadow+ and i wouldn't dream of trying to dig up all the docks and nettles by hand.

Aother option would be to get your fields muck spread a few times over the next couple of years while keeping them mowed, lime if necessary and strolling about with selective weedkiller while you just knock it all back. It'll be relatively unproductive but you could keep a modest amount of stock to graze and dung some it in rotation.


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: 20 pasture acres in need of attention
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 03:28:16 pm »
Do you have enough animals to graze 20 acres straight away? I'd probably get a contractor to spray it all with a selective weedkiller, so you'd be left with just grass. Ideally I'd want to put cattle onto it afterwards (once the spray has done its work and its safe). They should graze off the grass and hopefully trample and break up enough of the thatch to give you a head start. I'd offer it as free grazing to a local farmer for a month or so



  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: 20 pasture acres in need of attention
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2017, 04:28:14 pm »
If you are happy to forego the use of your land for 2 - 3 years I would go with renting it out. (At a commercial rent obviously.) That will get rid of the weeds for you and ensure that it is limed. Part of the "horse sickness" will be due to lime depletion. I used to do lime testing as part of my job and the worst fields were those that had grazed horses.
Any dormant weed seeds should also have germinated by this time, so you should be left with clean fertile soil ready for reseeding with your own grass mix. Potatoes are renowned as a cleaning crop and were always included in a rotation for this purpose before the development of modern herbicides.
If you decide to keep some land for your own use, you would at least be able to get it worked, limed and fertilised at the same time as the rest which could save you considerable time and effort. As previously mentioned, 25 or so acres is an awful lot to work on manually, and at least this way you can get it done properly with minimum of effort and it should then stand you in good stead for many years.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2017, 09:37:21 am by landroverroy »
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